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The Starling report: walk of shame

It’s Saturday morning. Not quite sunrise, but not long after. The place: The mean streets of Fitchburg, where I spent most of my Friday nights this summer. The outfit: Wrinkled and askew. Low-cut top, platform heels. Smudged mascara compounding dark circles under my eyes, a sure sign that I didn’t get much sleep last night.

It’s a familiar tableau, one we’ve probably all seen a thousand times on this campus. It’s more noticeable when the protagonist is a girl, all dolled up from the night before, or better yet, wearing a boy’s t-shirt and shorts. Every so often, if you look closely, you can catch a guy red-handed too.

Indeed, the infamous “Walk of Shame” is a common sight in cities and on college campuses. I myself am no stranger to it. If I were good at planning ahead, I would probably bring flip-flops and a t-shirt with me when I go out, so I could look appropriately casual for my trek home the following morning. However, planning ahead is not my strong suit. Engaging in spur-of-the-moment debauchery is more my style.

On the aforementioned walk, in the few blocks from the house of my gentleman friend back to the house where I had been officially planning to stay that weekend, I was sure that every denizen of the neighborhood I passed was leering at me and thinking, “Hahaha, Walk of Shame! That girl totally got nailed last night.” And those people would not have been wrong. My own thoughts as I winced in the harsh summer sunlight tended towards the “Ughhh…Walk of Shame, hope I don’t trip over a pothole in these ridiculous shoes” end of the spectrum.

Then, it occurred to me: The reason for the heels, and the cleavage, and the party, and in fact all parties and all revealing outfits and all high heels in the history of mankind were geared towards a single purpose: sex. Wasn’t that the whole point? It was all a game, and I had emerged victorious. A warm sense of satisfaction and the promise of more adventures next weekend were my spoils; tousled hair and smudged makeup my badges of honor.

Why then is this called the Walk of Shame? It should clearly be re-titled the Walk of Triumph. Modern society has no place for the antiquated morals of yesteryear. I certainly don’t. It’s time for a revolution in honesty, time for us all to admit that when we get dressed up and go out to bars and parties we’re actually trying to get laid, and take pride in it when we reach our goal. No more hangdog Walks of Shame with our eyes downcast, hurriedly shuffling home before we can be spotted.

I’ve only been caught red-handed once in all my years of college. It was the morning after a party. I had brought one of my friends – a coworker in fact – home, and then decided to crash at his dorm because I was too lazy to go back to mine. Nothing happened, I swear! But in the morning I was skulking off, in my mini skirt and heels, shielding my sensitive eyes from the harsh light of day, and I bumped into yet another coworker in the bathroom. Of course, she put two and two together, and despite my vehement protests that I had merely slept there, she clearly assumed what any rational person would.

Apparently, the episode became the subject of much scuttlebutt around the office. At this point, I sincerely wish that something had happened, since I’ve had to endure the sordid assumptions of everyone we work with. Also, the guy in question is smoking hot. In fact, if we had hooked up that night, I would have been fairly glowing with triumph in the morning, instead of trying to make a furtive escape, tainted by the shame of having been too drunk to make it halfway across campus at the end of the night, and therefore, too drunk to get busy with anyone, even my devilishly handsome coworker. And that, my friends, is truly shameful.

Jessica Starling Jones can be reached at jessicastarlingjones@gmail.com

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